Author(s): Blewis ME, Schumacher BL, Klein TJ, Schmidt TA, Voegtline MS,
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Abstract Articular cartilage is a heterogeneous tissue with superficial (S), middle (M), and deep (D) zones. Chondrocytes in the S zone secrete the lubricating PRG4 protein, while chondrocytes from the M and D zones are more specialized in producing large amounts of the glycosaminoglycan (GAG) component of the extracellular matrix. Soluble and insoluble chemicals and mechanical stimuli regulate cartilage development, growth, and homeostasis; however, the mechanisms of regulation responsible for the distinct PRG4-positive and negative phenotypes of chondrocytes are unknown. The objective of this study was to determine if interaction between S and M chondrocytes regulates chondrocyte phenotype, as determined by coculture in monolayer at different ratios of S:M (100:0, 75:25, 50:50, 25:75, 0:100) and at different densities (240,000, 120,000, 60,000, and 30,000 cells/cm(2)), and by measurement of PRG4 secretion and expression, and GAG accumulation. Coculture of S and M cells resulted in significant up-regulation in PRG4 secretion and the percentage of cells expressing PRG4, with simultaneous down-regulation of GAG accumulation. Tracking M cells with PKH67 dye in coculture revealed that they maintained a PRG4-negative phenotype, and proliferated less than S cells. Taken together, these results indicate that the up-regulated PRG4 expression in coculture is a result of preferential proliferation of PRG4-expressing S cells. This finding may have practical implications for generating a large number of phenotypically normal S cells, which can be limited in source, for tissue engineering applications. (c) 2007 Orthopaedic Research Society.
This article was published in J Orthop Res
and referenced in Journal of Bioengineering and Bioelectronics